Today’s post is by my blogging sister and co-author, Amanda Criss. I so appreciate her perspective and trust you will be enriched here today.
I think the darkest times in my life are those when I keenly feel the pain of a situation and cry out to God, “Why do You make things so hard for me?”
And so I open my Bible and turn to “comfort” verses, like “Fear not,” and “Be anxious for nothing,” and “God works all things together for good.” I recite Scripture to myself over and over again, sometimes feeling like I’m just throwing Bible words at my heart, hoping something will stick.
I know that God calls me to entrust myself to Him, and I try to obey His commands, like “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” and “Seek first His kingdom,” but my heart, mind, and emotions often get the better of me. I battle grief, loneliness, fear, and rejection, or I wrestle with pride, selfishness, and resentment, and I wonder just how I can really trust, really rejoice, really believe, really love, really forgive, and really hope.
There is a secret, however, to truly be able to obey commands like “Fear not,” “Hope in God,” and “Rejoice always!”
The secret may sound a little unusual or may be a bit unexpected, but I have learned that the depth of my faith in God is directly related to Who I know Him to be as revealed through His Word. Without knowing God, beholding His splendor, and glimpsing His majesty, my faith in God can be as minuscule as my understanding of God.
But when a woman glimpses the glory of the God before whom she kneels, when she really begins to know Him in all His splendor through His written Word, His beauty will ravish and plunder her heart’s affections. She will more and more begin believing and obeying the words of this mighty Father and everlasting God. Her heart will lean into her Savior during the storms and uncertainties of life. She will call on her God when her heart is faint, and He will hide her away in the cleft of the rock.
Friend, it is not enough to simply be a “woman of faith” unless our faith is well-placed. Otherwise, we’re women of faith in….what? In the real God? Or in a god who is a figment of our imagination? We know from the Bible that God’s character is not subject to our limited comprehension of Him or the whims of a cultural idea of a “god” that we like.
But when we SEE God as He has revealed Himself in the Scriptures, and when we BELIEVE in Who He has revealed Himself to be, we will know the REAL God. Our hearts will be strengthened, and our confidence will not be shaken.
When the storms of life howl around us and around our families, we will be tucked away inside the Rock — the Rock that is higher than we are.
I want to help you see Him. The curtain that once separated you from the Holy God was ripped in two when Christ died for your sins upon the cross, and so, through the blood of Jesus, you can come boldly before the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Would you pause your day for a little while right now (or schedule in some time for this afternoon or tomorrow morning) for an appointment with the Lord, and prayerfully read with me through three chapters in the Bible? I need to show you something.
Please let me walk alongside you as we come before the throne, into that most holy place, and may we not leave there until we say with Isaiah the prophet, “I saw the Lord!”
- Pray.Ask God to reveal the glory of His name to you. I am praying several of these Scriptures to God as I prepare to open His Word:Psalm 27:4; Psalm 119:169; Psalm 119:18; Exodus 33:18; Exodus 34:6-7; Psalm 61:1-3; and Psalm 25:4-5.Since we are sisters in Christ, walking together into the throne room, I want to open up a vulnerable aspect of my life to you, sharing with you my weak, feeble attempts at praying to God. I am so grateful that, although I don’t know how to pray as I ought, the Spirit will intercede for me with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26).Here is an example of how I pray Scripture to God, using Exodus 33:18 and Exodus 34:6-7:Father, please show me your glory. You command me to draw near to you and promise that You will draw near to me. I’m trying to draw near. I want to know You. I trust You. I do believe; help my unbelief. You are the LORD. You only are God. You are merciful and gracious. You are slow to anger. You abound in steadfast love and faithfulness. You keep steadfast love to the thousandth generation. You forgive iniquity. You forgive my transgression and sin. You do not clear the guilty, but you visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation. Teach me your ways, O Lord, and I will trust You. I ask you to make me trust in You. I am seeking You now and want to know You and love you. Amen.
- Read Isaiah 6:1-7.As you read, believe what you read. The Lord is still on His throne, my friend. He is high and lifted up. Picture the seraphim as described here in Scripture. What are they calling out to one another? What was Isaiah’s reaction to seeing the Lord? Was it worry? Anxiety? Fear of the unknown? (When Isaiah saw the King, the Lord of hosts, he didn’t high five Him, share a fist bump with the Son of God, or look around for old friends — rather, his reaction was, “Woe is me, for I am undone…” We can learn so much about our holy, sovereign, high and exalted God by observing Isaiah’s reaction.) What did the seraphim say to Isaiah after he touched Isaiah’s mouth with the coal? What happened to Isaiah’s guilt and sin?
- Read Revelation 4:1-5:14.In case you are unfamiliar with the context (you can orient yourself in the text a bit by reading Revelation 1 if you have time), Jesus’ disciple John is now an old man, exiled on the island of Patmos, and he is writing the Revelation of Jesus Christ. I believe that Revelation 4-5 are what John refers to in Revelation 1:19 as “those [things] that are,” meaning that this is PRESENTLY the scene going on in heaven, friends!! When you pray, when you seek God, when you pursue Him, when your world is full of joy and gladness, and when your world is crumbling down around you and upon your family, THIS is your God. He is on His throne, and day and night, forever and ever, the refrain continues: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come…. Worthy…worthy…worthy!”As we read through Revelation 4-5, every time that we see the four living creatures, the twenty-four elders, the myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands of angels, and every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, then we are left with no choice but to worship our King alongside them! Worship God who is on His throne (I pray / read the words of worship and praise out loud), and sing to Jesus who is the Lamb slain to ransom you for God.
- Sing or say these words as a closing offering to God. Command your heart to look to Jesus.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
and life more abundant and free.
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). Come to Jesus! A quivering, tired, bruised reed shall He not break.
Thank you for honoring God by spending time pursuing Him through His Word and in prayer and worship. I am completely confident that, in knowing Him, you can “fear not,” “hope in God,” and “trust in the Lord.”
As the old song tells us, it truly does take time to be holy. Follow hard after God. Seek to know Him, and believe in Who He reveals Himself to be through His Word. He will tune your heart to sing His praise and teach you to walk in His will by the light of His Word.
And don’t stop here! “Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6:3)
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
As a special gift throughout 2016, Amanda’s blog has commissioned a hand-lettered Scripture printable for her readers, and she wants to share it with the Arabah Joy community. You are invited to subscribe to her newsletter and print off a copy of this artwork to encourage your heart and fill a nook in your home with a reminder of Christ’s entreaty to weary souls, “Come to Me…I will give you rest.” You can sign up to receive the free printable here.
Amanda Criss is a wife, stay-at-home mom, and blogger at Bless Your Heart and Home. She writes to encourage the hearts of women through the good news of Jesus Christ. She and her husband, Jody, have two children and live in their home state of Mississippi.